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The Arc Foundation Director, Larry Freund passes away

The Arc is saddened by the loss of The Arc Foundation Executive Director, Larry Freund. Larry passed away on July 26th at the age of 84.

Mr. Freund provided support to The Arc of the Ozarks through the establishment and operation of The Arc Foundation, beginning in 2008. He was a continuous advocate for the individuals The Arc supports and our fundraising efforts. Mr. Freund provided insight and support numerous time the Development staff at The Arc.

Larry was a loving husband, caring father, beloved grandfather and a loyal friend. People who spent time with him were able to share his sense of humor and passion for life. He was known for his generosity and love for helping others.

In recent years, Freund also co-hosted a radio show called “The W Factor” on KWTO-AM with David Eslick. He hosted monthly shows about The Arc of the Ozarks, the programs we provide and how to get plugged in. Mr. Freund will be missed by so many in our community.

Amazon Wishlists!

Our staff and clients are continuously coming up with creative ways to stay busy, active and have fun at home. We would love to continue to provide our clients with fun activities while they shelter-in-place.

Please consider purchasing something from our Amazon wishlist! The supply is limited and many could benefit from these items – art supplies, board games, word searches, outdoor games, etc. When you purchase something from the list, it will come directly to the selected division you are shopping for where all items are packaged and distributed.

Access the wishlists here:

Springfield Residential Game Room

Kansas City Game Room

Renovations Game Room

Community Connections Game Room

Crowhaven Game Room

Joplin Division Game Room

Monett Division Game Room

CounterPoint Game Room

Medical and Cleaning Supplies Needed

Many people have been asking how they can help The Arc of the Ozarks during this difficult time. While we have plans and preparations to deal with disasters and crises, this situation is simply unprecedented. Our staff is considered essential, so even when shelter-in-place orders are issued, they still report to work to make sure we provide care for the people we serve. We want to make sure we keep all of our staff, their families, and the individuals we serve safe.

❗️If you can donate any of the following items, we would greatly appreciate it!❗️

– Medical gowns
– N-95 masks (only used for staff to care for individuals with COVID-19)
– Medical masks (we will donate any excess N-95 masks to local hospitals)
– Thermometers
– Cleaning products/supplies
– Medical gloves
– Toilet paper, Kleenex and other paper supplies
– Soap, Shampoo and other hygiene products


1️⃣ You may drop off any of these items to our Elfindale office (1721 West. Elfindale) between the hours of 8am and 5pm Monday through Friday.

2️⃣ Give a financial contribution directly on our website:

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COVID-19 Information

The Arc of the Ozarks is minimizing risk factors associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  We consider the health and safety of the individuals we serve and our employees our top priority.  With that in mind, until further notice, The Arc will be limiting access to some non-essential services, group activities, large training sessions, community outings and other community mitigation and social distancing strategies.  We will also be closing our offices to the general public and conducting some services, meetings, and interviews by telephone and electronically.  We are asking that family members consider limiting visits with individuals receiving residential services and instead communicate by telephone and emails to reduce the amount of personal contact. If you have an emergency or any questions, please call The Arc’s main phone line at (417) 864-7887.

Socializing Adds Richness to Life

The Arc of the Ozarks believes that everyone should have the opportunity to live, work, learn and play in their community. In our Monett Division, we host a Monett Weekend group in which individuals benefit by doing activities within the Monett community. This is a story about Jaffon, an individual that wanted to get more involved, but needed a little support in accomplishing his goals:

Jaffon has been involved with the Monett Weekend Group for many years, however if there was a group retreat that involved going out into the community, he was reluctant to be involved and would cancel before each occasion.

With the help of staff support and guidance, Jaffon has shown a complete turnaround regarding socialization. He is the now one of the first to let staff know that he wishes to attend activities. This has been the case for him over the course of the last several months. Jaffon is now affectionately referred to as a “social butterfly”.

This is an example of how, with just a bit of encouragement and support, we can stand with our individuals while they direct their own lives to be valued members of the communities in which we all live.


With Encouragement, Goals Can Be Achieved

Loretta had once dismissed the idea of doing physical activity or exercising. She opted to play computer games at the local library instead. Although playing on the computer at the library is a way to fill up time, there’s not physical movement involved, and she was missing out of socializing.

Loretta’s pathway to exercise involved a committed support system made up of The Arc staff who encouraged her along the way. Loretta now regularly attends group exercise classes 3 days a week at the Monett Area YMCA with other community members. Not only has her social group expanded, she has lost weight. The weight loss improved her overall cardiovascular health, which had been a worry in the past.

This is just one example of how, with just a bit of encouragement and support, we can stand with our individuals while they direct their own lives to be valued members of the communities in which we all live.


12th Anniversary for Hunt & Fish Outdoor Show

The 12th Annual Hunt & Fish Outdoor Show took place this past Saturday and Sunday at the Springfield Expo Center. The event featured over 100 outdoor related businesses and activities for the whole family. There was something for all outdoor enthusiasts at the event.

A few new elements added this year was a Kid’s Korner and 3D Archery tournament. The Kid’s Korner area allowed children of all ages to build birdhouses, put together turkey calls, play virtual reality hunting games, get a balloon animal created by Ronzo the Clown or play in the bounce house. All lumber materials for the birdhouses were donated by Sutherlands and Meek’s. Crossroads Archery Club brought a 3D Tournament indoors during the event with over 130 participants. Individuals were awarded on stage Sunday for several categories.

The show also had a great seminar line up of numerous outdoor topics including bass and crappie fishing, Dutch oven cooking and deer hunting. Matt Drury of Drury Outdoors headlined the seminar schedule on Sunday providing a Q & A session for spectators.

All proceeds from the event benefit our No Limits Summer Camp program. This program provides a summer of therapeutic and fun activities for children with developmental disabilities.

This event is only made possible by the many sponsors and volunteers that donate their time and money to help make this event successful year after year. The Arc would like to extend a special thank you to our Presenting Sponsor, Central Bank of the Ozarks.

Plans for the 13th Annual Hunt & Fish Outdoor Show are underway with a date to be determined soon.

Local Business Helps Individuals Live Their Best Life

Lenna is one of our JMARK donation recipients. Each month, JMARK donates an amount to some of our clients so they may live their best life possible. Lenna had some health challenges, so before the donation, she wasn’t able to spend money on items such as clothing. With the generous donation, she was able to go shopping and bought some new clothes. She was especially excited to purchase a piece that is adorn with butterflies.

Lenna had also used some of the money to buy Christmas presents for her housemates, her guardian and her service coordinator. She is now saving up so she can buy herself everything she needs to learn to crochet.

JMARK, thank you so much for giving her the opportunity to purchase these things. It means the world to Lenna.


Thank you to JMARK

Allene was able to do so many special and memorable things in 2019 thanks to the generous donors from JMark. Several times throughout the year had the opportunity to do various things, such as getting her nails done at a local salon and crafting at Pottery Village Café. She also visited Branson and purchased VIP tickets to “Raiding the Country Vault,” which featured performers singing classic country songs by Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash. While in Branson she shopped for clothes, went to the fudge shop, visited the Christmas store and ate at Mel’s Hard Luck Diner.  

The donated funds from JMARK also allowed for Allene to buy her Halloween costume, a butterfly. She was also able to update the decorations in her home and bought new curtains for her living room. Several times throughout the year, she went bowling. And, to get even more bang for her buck, she purchased a zoo pass for herself, so she could go whenever she wanted.

Thank you again to the generous donors at JMARK. Because of you, Allene had more fun, went more places and had more opportunities to be involved in her local community. We appreciate you!

Christmas Extravaganza raises Christmas Spirit and Dollars

On Friday, December 6th, The Arc of the Ozarks held the 24th Annual Christmas Extravaganza. This event is a dinner gala with silent and live auctions. All the proceeds from this fundraising event go to Rivendale. Rivendale is an alternative school setting for children with learning difficulties or autism. Rivendale’s child-centered approach focuses on fostering positive emotional growth, increasing academic, language, and behavioral competencies, and enhancing each student’s natural strengths.

The 220 individuals attending Christmas Extravaganza enjoyed a delicious meal. Entertainment was provided by Shaun Munday, the Wings of Swing Big Band and a special performance by the Missouri State Beartones. The evening was held at the Bass Pro White River Conference Center with Francis Watson, KSPR multimedia journalist as the emcee.

Again, this year, the auction was mobile friendly, utilizing an online bidding platform called BidPal. Individuals placed bids through their phones and individuals who could not attend the event were able to bid. The auction included over 130 silent auction packages from businesses around the Ozarks and 12 live auction items including jewelry from Maxon’s Diamond Merchants, a getaway to St. Lucia and a Springfield Date Night package with tickets to Hello Dolly on Valentine’s Day. The silent and live auction alone raised $15,000 adding to the final total of just over $48,000 raised for the students of Rivendale.

The night also honored several special groups of people who help to make our community better, the Community Partner of the Year, Person of the Year and Guardian of the Year. The Arc Community Partner of 2019 was Jordan Valley Health Center for their work with our Cornerstone Psychology Clinic. The Esser Family was honored as the Guardian of the Year on behalf of our Residential Program. Glenn Rosser received the award for Person of the Year for his work creating and cultivating the Open Buddy Bass Tournament the past three years.

The evening concluded with selecting the winner of the $25,000 Room Transformation sponsored by Witt Custom Homes. The winner Ruth Shirk will receive a $25,000 remodel for a chosen room in her home. Nearly 400 tickets were sold for this first-year raffle.


Guests enjoyed a night of holiday celebration for a good cause. Thank you to Family Pharmacy and Alps Pharmacy as well as all of our table sponsors and donors that made this event successful. The 24th Annual Christmas Extravaganza is set for Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020.